Authorities have not allowed residents back into their homes after crews wiped out a smoldering fire in a northwestern Wisconsin refinery, where an explosion injured at least 11 people and forced most of Superior to evacuate.
Douglas County officials said Thursday evening, the fire at the Husky Energy Oil Refinery was over and residents were able to return home, but had to wait at least two hours. But late Thursday, the police released another update to the Supreme Police, saying that the evacuation order would last throughout the night and be reassessed.
The authorities said Thursday at 10 o'clock a tank of crude oil or asphalt in the refinery in Superior, a city exploded of about 27,000, sharing a seaport seaport with nearby Duluth, Minnesota. This prompted them to order the evacuation of a 5-kilometer radius around the refinery and a 1
It was unclear How many people were evacuated, but Mayor Jim Paine said most of the city was evacuated. The refinery is located in an industrial area, but there is a residential area within a mile northeast. The leeward corridor south of the refinery is sparsely populated. Schools in Superior and near Maple, Wisconsin have canceled Friday as a precautionary measure.
Hospital officials said only one of the injured had been seriously injured, which was described as a blasting injury. No deaths were reported and officials said that all workers had been included.
Thick, black smoke that could be seen for hours after the explosion from the refinery. Refinery manager Kollin Schade said the smoke was from burning asphalt that was so hot that firefighters could not attack the fire to try to extinguish it. Emergency officials later said that another tank had also caught fire, though they had not specified what it contained.
A four-member team of the US Chemical Safety Board will investigate the explosion. The panel gives safety recommendations after serious chemical incidents.
The fire was extinguished at around 11:20 am, but re-ignited, prompting police to resettle residents residing in an evacuation area. The police blocked roads in the area around the refinery and three schools and St. Mary's Hospital in Superior were evacuated as a precautionary measure.
A contractor who was in the building told WDIO television that the explosion sounded like " a sonic boom "and that happened when the crews at sh arb (19659002) Kara Tudor, 30, and Julia Johnson, 27, live about 2 miles from the refinery and were asked to evacuate. They quickly grabbed their two dogs and three cats, grabbed their toothbrushes, and drove to a friend's home in Duluth, where they watched the news for updates.
Johnson, who was working from home at the time of the explosion, said the windows shook.
"It felt like something had fallen into the house, like a vehicle or a branch from a tree … Our dogs started to bark, it was a stressful moment," Johnson said.
Tudor, a researcher at a research firm, said the residents were not told much about the potential danger of what was in the smoke or why it was so black. But she said it was clear that people would not inhale her and she wondered how that would affect water and air quality.
Oil smoke may contain a mixture of harmful hydrocarbons and other short- and long-term potential chemicals Health Effects
The National Weather Service's radar showed the plume of smoke extending from southeast to southeast, spilling into sparsely populated areas. The meteorological service said the winds will weaken on Thursday night and eventually shift towards Lake Superior. It is said that the smoke would probably not affect Duluth, a city of about 87,000 inhabitants.
Husky Energy of Calgary, Alberta, purchased the refinery from Calumet Specialty Products Partners of Indianapolis last year for more than $ 490 million. It is Wisconsin's only refinery, and it produces gasoline, asphalt and other products.
The refinery was punished by federal officials a few years ago under its previous owners. Scott Allen, spokesman for the US Department of Labor, said the health and safety organization imposed a $ 21,000 fine on Calumet Superior LLC in 2015 for emergency response and the fight against inflammatory fluids. The violations have been resolved and the problems resolved by the end of the year.
Allen said it was OSHA's only enforcement action against Calumet Superior LLC over the last 20 years. Calumet Superior is a subsidiary of Calumet Specialty Products Partners, which sold the plant to Husky Energy last year
The refinery, which dates back to the early 1950s, has a processing capacity of around 50,000 barrels per day and a storage capacity of 3 , 6 million barrels of crude oil and products. It processes both heavy Canadian Alberta tar sands and North Dakota Bakken lighter crude.
Associated Press authors Steve Karnowski and Doug Glass of Minneapolis and Gretchen Ehlke of Milwaukee have contributed to this report.